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I have been depressed and confused for many years and need guidance to move forward with clarity and confidence.

heart to heart About the Questioner
Philosophy: My philosophy in life is to live with joy without hurting others and helping others in the most possible ways available. I am a Christian but I do not stick to its orthodox principles like Jesus is the only God and all other religions are satanic, so I feel I am an atheist as I never felt the presence of God as demonstrated in churches. But I do not stick to the assertion that I am an atheist.
Hopes and aspirations: I aspire to find a career that gives satisfaction (with ample amount of money which comes next), clear the mental clutter about god, religion, existence of god, be confident in what I am and be a good woman I wish for professionally, socially and financially so that I can be an example to others.
I am 25 year old female suffering from depression and OCD [obsessive-compulsive disorder] from the age of 15. Nevertheless I managed to complete my studies with highest scores, and pursued my hobbies like dance and reading books, landed in a good paying job, all while I am under treatment for 8 years using antidepressants. I am content with my family as I live with my mom, dad and siblings in India and they are very supportive. I am brought up in a strict Christian environment, which made me believe utmost in God when I was suffering from unmanageable depression and OCD. But I did not get answers or healing from God. But still I continue to pray (as my mom and church say your prayers will be answered) while working on my issues with a therapist here in India. I want to stop antidepressants that I have been using for 8 years, as I aim to have good physical health and my body is suffering as a result of pills for 8 years. I am very much in control of myself and I look happy and sleep well and look good. But I am not feeling like attending neither office nor feeling like getting married nor feeling like having children (I feel guilty as a result of these thoughts that why I am not like my gal pals of my age).

I want to clear clutter out of mind related to 1. God, 2. Religion, 3. Existence of God, 4. Recognizing my satisfying career not just working for money, 5. Assertiveness, 6. Want to stop medicines and have a healthy body and mind, 6. Sex.

I feel, why I am thinking so much when every other human being is just working to get some money and just praying for their reasons? And why am I contemplating so much on vast issues instead of dealing with my life? But still I could not pull out myself from these conflict areas. I also feel sex is something you do with your loved one after marriage and when I see my friends in immoral physical life, I again think on that and feel guilty. I feel I have issues on this sex before marriage and after marriage. Please clear this confusion.

Reply by Coach Doris Jeanette Doris Jeanette
Depression and OCD (obsessive-compulsive disorder) are unpleasant behaviors. And the medication is even more unpleasant. However, give yourself lots of credit. What you have accomplished is quite remarkable. You are a perfect example of how a person can control herself and still perform day-to-day duties in the world! Therefore, never doubt the inner strength you possess. All you have to do is to learn to use your strength to be yourself instead of to control yourself!

As a holistic psychologist I do not use or recommend that you use psychological labels as your identity. You can read more about my viewpoint in the article archived here at Trans4mind.

As far as I am concerned everyone has obsessive-compulsive behaviors and everyone has some degree of depression. If you don't think that you do, pay attention to your energy.

Any behavior that you need to "do" in order to feel safe is an obsessive-compulsive behavior. It could be washing the dishes or sitting down to read. If you need to "do" it more than once and "do" it in order to feel more comfortable then it is OC. And if you don't think you depress your energy, pay attention to how spontaneous and emotionally expressive you are with others. How freely can you share your body, heart and soul without inhibition?

Let's Tackle the Legal Drug Problem
The USA is world famous for giving drugs to our children. Has India caught this overmedication disease from USA? It is extremely upsetting that medication, which does not have a great track record for depression or OCD, could be the treatment of choice for adults or children in any country. A British study, a few years ago, found children on anti-depressant medication committed suicide more often than those not on the medication. The government agency recommended taking children off anti- depressant drugs.

The drug companies themselves cannot advertise or tell you that their drug cures depression because it DOES NOT. The very best that an anti-depressant drug can do is make you forget the fact that you are depressed by numbing you even more. The reality is that when the drug is removed from your body, whatever problem existed before is still there in bold Technicolor. And to boot, its energy is stronger, because you have done nothing to solve your problem!

How to Handle Your Current Medication
In terms of getting off your medication, the MD who put you on the drug needs to be the one to help you get off the drug in a slow and healthy fashion. Do not eliminate any drug until you are prepared to deal with the psychological problems I will be mentioning below.

It is extremely important for you to be in ongoing therapy or coaching with someone who is a skillful psychologist as you get off your meds. I suggest you pick a professional who is qualified to help you with your mental health problems and bypass the intermediaries.

Treatment of Choice for Obsessive-compulsive Disorder in Traditional Psychology
The treatment of choice in traditional psychology for OCD is Behavior Therapy. One of the leading researchers in this area, Dr. Edna Foa, was one my colleagues when I was a staff member at Temple Medical School from 1976-1979. Her current treatment is the same as she was doing when I helped her with her research. She exposes you to whatever makes you anxious until you are no longer anxious. Edna is now at the University of Penn and TIME magazine recently recognized her as one of 100 most influence people in the world. Read a definition of the New Psychology at my site.

As a holistic psychologist, I am not satisfied with stopping your OCD behaviors. This is a bandage job at best. As a matter of fact, I would not even attempt to stop you from performing obsessive-compulsive behaviors. Why not? You need those behaviors for the moment. They are serving a function and fulfilling a need.

Why do you need your obsessive-compulsive behaviors? You are using them to feel safe. I would never take anything away that you use to feel safe. I want you to feel safe.

As a holistic psychologist my goal is to empower you. My goal is not to "fix" you or make you fit into a crazy, dysfunctional world. Together, we look at your whole mind-body to see what you are doing to stop the flow of your healthy human energy.

If you are depressed, this means you are depressing your energy. You cannot become more alive until you stop depressing your healthy energy. So this means you need to learn to let your energy flow without inhibiting it in order to become healthier in mind and body.

Your obsessive-compulsive behaviors tell me that you are extremely anxious and using your obsessive-compulsive behaviors to "bind" your anxiety. Everyone "binds" his or her anxiety, so do not judge yourself or think that you are so different. You are in good company; many famous people, such as Lucille Ball, Albert Einstein and Charles Darwin were OCD.

Even though none of your obsessive-compulsive behaviors successfully keep you safe, you think they do. Your belief and comfort is extremely important in terms of a positive outcome. If you want to successfully transform your depressed energy into healthy flowing energy you need to feel safe and be master of thyself.

Let's look deeper into the energy dynamics. Depression and anxiety have a fascinating relationship. It took me many years to untangle their intricate and intimate dance. After repeated observations, I uncovered their physical relationship. For psychological success, it is extremely important to know what is happening in physical reality.

When you stop depressing your energy, you immediately become aware of your anxiety and experience its full force in your body and nervous system. When you experience your high anxiety, your response is to go back into depression. "Being still" which is depressed, feels safer to you than the chaos and static of your anxiety.

So I would imagine that you feel like you are in a catch 22, because that is exactly what you are in! You are flip flopping back and forth between depression and anxiety without the proper skills to deal with either of them. Therefore, I would teach you how to replace your unpleasant behaviors with more effective behaviors. You need behaviors that actually keep you physically safe and emotionally secure.

Your depression and OCD are not bad or wrong. They are simply not productive. You need to become skillful in regulating your own human energy so that you can allow your healthy energy to flow without resorting to unpleasant behaviors.

Therefore, I would teach you more forceful and powerful behaviors. For example, you mention assertiveness. You seem to know you need to take an Assertiveness Training course. And indeed you do. You will feel much safer when you have the ability to say, "No" and "Yes" when needed.

If I had to pick one skill set that everyone in the world needed, it would be hard to choose between learning how to relax and learning how to be assertive. But I would pick being assertive! Children are trained not to be assertive. Yet, every adult needs to be assertive in order to be effective and powerful in the world. So when you grow up you must get the education you need by taking an Assertiveness Training course.

Once you know how to handle your anxiety, you will have the tools you need to successfully move out of your depression. Then you will be able to stay out of the depressed state. I do not have the space to address all your concerns. Most of them are real fears that you will face as you learn to handle the anxiety of the sexist, classist world you live in.

As a matter for fact, the outside world is so anxious; you will need to continue to improve your anxiety coping skills for the rest of your life. Dealing with anxiety is like dealing with the dirty dishes. Once you clean them up, they get dirty again.

However, if you use your inner strength to be yourself, instead of to control yourself, you will learn to enjoy washing the dishes. You will also enjoy the process of reducing your anxiety.

Action Steps to Move Forward

  1. Get to know your depressed state. How are you depressing your energy flow? Notice your patterns and see what triggers your inhibition. Remember, you are not your depression. Stop identifying with this state and discover how you learned to be depressed. For information about how you learned to be depressed and tools to help you, listen to "Depression: Discover How You Learned and Can Unlearn Helplessness."
  2. Work with a holistic psychologist or coach. Prepare yourself for getting off medication. Learn the skills you need so you can begin to reduce your medication. You need to be assertive and you need to handle anxiety.
  3. Learn the truth about legal drugs and get ready for a lower dose. Use this book to help you successfully get off drugs: Your Drug May Be Your Problem: How and Why to Stop Taking Psychiatric Medications by Peter R. Breggin, M. D. and David Cohen, Ph.D.
  4. Take an Assertiveness Training Course. Check with your local community mental health center or colleges for classes and courses. Or sign up for the course on the phone that begins Jan. 18th, "Stop the World From Pushing You Around: Six Weeks to Solid Self-Confidence," an Assertiveness Training Telecourse.

Coaching copyright © 2010 Dr. Doris Jeanette
Doris Jeanette is a licensed psychologist with 34 years of clinical experience helping people use their inner strengths, natural talents and innate abilities. She is available for phone consultations because she has the ability to sense energy on the phone. In addition, her self help products give you the information and skills you need to be successful no matter where you live. Sign up for her free newsletter and check out her new telecourse, "Stop the World From Pushing You Around: Six Weeks to Solid Self-Confidence."

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